Tell me about a comicon.

The Phoenix comicon is apparently a yearly thing and this year’s one is coming up.

I’ve never been to or seen a comicon before, what can I expect by going to one? I’ve heard the word before and the only things I know are: 1. There will be a few celebrities at this one I’m a big fan of and might try to stand in line and meet and 2. They’re crowded and often have long lines to tables set up, all over, that tout various fandom stuffs (of movies and shows and books and of course comics).

Beyond that, I have no idea what it entails or what going to one would be like.

Long-time vet of San Diego Comic-Con. Expect the unexpected. Get in line early. Hydrate.

If you want to make a fortune, set up a booth, put down a couple of chairs, tack up a sign that says “Tell me about your character: $5/10 minutes.”

eta: definitely go see James Marsters. He’s a hoot.

You’ve pretty well described it. Crowded and noisy.

The center of all things is the Dealers’ Room, with tables and booths, where you can buy (and sell, a little) all sorts of stuff. From this week’s comics to 1940’s comics. Toys and games and apparel. Animation cels.

There’s an artists’ alley, where you can stand in line to get autographs, or to commission art. Many artists will do a quickie sketch for free. Others ask some money.

There’ll be autograph tables for authors, too, doing book signings, and for celebs, signing promotional photographs. Figure on some VERY long lines.

There will be big-room presentations, where 5,000 people sit in theater-style seating to listen to some bigwig talk about his studio’s upcoming movie. These are often sweetened with a celeb or two, making such presentations VERY hard to get into. The lines can run the length of the convention center.

There’ll be lesser presentations, and workshops, and demos. The coloring demo; the lettering demo; the “how to draw a horse right, damn it” demo (a classic!)

There will very likely be a masquerade, where people come out on stage in MAGNIFICENT costumes (okay, yeah, and a few beginners doing the best they can.) These usually involve a brief skit or routine. The big-group presentations can be glorious.

And a big part of the convention scene is outside the convention itself: room parties in the nearby hotels, dinner groups, clubbing, touring the city, etc. There is usually a collection of grumblers at the hotel bar: some notable SF authors go there and stay there the whole convention through.

If you’e got connections, it can be a hell of a lot of fun. If you’re by yourself, and don’t have “ins” it can be kinda lonely and boring.

After three days of this, your feet are gonna hurt.

It’s worth it!

What do you like? Comicons tend to be about comics, movies, TV shows, anime, manga, etc. Perhaps you like written science fiction and fantasy more. In that case you should check out your local science fiction convention. In your case that’s LepreCon:

http://leprecon.org/

Here’s a list of science fiction conventions around the U.S.:

http://www.upcomingcons.com/science-fiction-conventions

Science fiction conventions tend to be less crowded and have an older crowd.

Note that Comicons are profit-making ventures. Fan-run cons are just trying to break even, and usually provide more for their attendees (like free food, free autographs, etc.).

Technically speaking, the San Diego Comic Con, grand-daddy of 'em all, is a non-profit “educational” corporation. It does make a lot of money, but under non-profit rules and regulations.

(And ittle bitty little bicky ConDor, with a grand total of 400 people attending, here in San Diego in the Comic-Con’s shadow – one third of one per cent the size! – is also a non-profit corporation.)

San Diego Comic-Con is really it’s own monster it’d be rather hard to compare it to something like Phoenix Comic-Con. I haven’t been to Phoenix specifically but I’ve been to cons many in similar sized cities. Those cons are a lot more comfortable and easy to navigate. San-Diego is massive and incredibly packed.

With booth costs you’d be lucky to break even. That’s even getting a booth, new vendors have a 10 year wait.
Trinopus offers a good description.

Most the comic cons are pretty diversified well beyond just comics, there is a little something for most geeky interests. If you want to spend your time trying out board games or playing Magic, they’ll have that. Most set up computers for competitive gaming.

If you go with friends or are outgoing you can generally make the most of things and have a lot of fun. If you go by yourself and aren’t willing to introduce yourself to strangers you might not get much out of it.

I would much rather go to a small fan-run con. They have much short lines, and you can actually get to interact with the presenters. You might not see big stars, but there often will be someone connected to the shows. There is one con I go to every year that is about 150-200 people. A very prolific anime voice actor(He has never done any smash hits, but some decently respected shows) not only comes and does presentations, he also DJs the dance, and runs open presentations where audience participation is encouraged.

I went to my first comicon last year, Tampa Bay Comic Con, with my brother and nephew, since we were on a family visit at the time. We had a thorough blast doing nothing more than wandering through the vendor section checking out the cool creative things they had on offer and taking in all the cosplay. It wasn’t until we were on our way out that we realized that the panel discussions and whatnot were on the lower level. We could have lined up for autographs and pix with the celebrity guests but chose not to.

I was charmed by how many people were in cosplay and how creative and intricate some of it was. One thing that tickled me immensely was at the very beginning of the day: we had parked in a nearby parking garage and weren’t sure where to go, so we asked the attendant how to get to the convention center from there. “Are you going to the Comic Con?,” he asked, looking at us, comprised of me dressed as the Tardis, my brother dressed as Captain Picard, and my nephew dressed as Link (my daughter was also with us, but she was cosplaying a teenage girl horrified by her embarrassing mother).